Driving over 1500km for a first date screams ‘true romantic’ as we heard the tale of Sienna + Charles love story. While there was no initial ‘love at first sight’ for Sienna, Charles had other plans. Two worlds meeting as one and a story of a long distance relationship that has a happy ending has us swooning over this beautiful couple.
#RCREALBRIDE Sienna wore the Delco by Pronovias gown. A sensual design that showcases curves and the feminine silhouette. A mermaid wedding dress with a sweetheart neckline and off-the-shoulder sleeves in mikado that plays with the volume and lustre of the fabric to emphasise the figure.
Photography: Tony Evans Photography
THE FIRST SIGHT
As a conference coordinator based in Melbourne, I had been organising the AusIMM Ninth International Mining Geology Conference 2014. As a geologist based in outback South Australia (1500km away from Melbourne), Charles wrote a paper to present his research at the conference. Two years of preparation for this event and we would correspond professionally via email. Essentially, we were both just a name on a computer screen.
The day prior to the official launch of the conference, Charles had requested from myself, the use of the auditorium to practice his presentation. It was his first major presentation in front of industry peers. He was nervous. This however, would be the first time we would meet. Zero sparks from my account. He was just another delegate. Charles would later claim that he was impressed with how friendly I was and how much attention I gave him considering there were over 400 other people requiring my attention. Charles’ presentation was a success and he was awarded best presentation for a young professional at the conference.
A few weeks later, Charles would formally ask me via my work email to officially ‘friend request’ me on Facebook. From there a friendship would develop over 6 months which would lead to our very first date on 7 March 2015. For our first date, Charles drove the 1500km from outback South Australia to Melbourne to have drinks with me at Goldilocks rooftop bar. The first date went so well that 2 days later when Charles needs to drive back to South Australia, I decide to join him on an epic road trip along the Victorian/South Australian coast line. Once we would reach Adelaide we would need to part ways so I could catch a flight back home.
Just over 2 years, after an initial 12-month long distance relationship. After well over 100+ flights to see each other during our first year together, I would eventually exchange the city life for the quiet outback life. Charles decided to propose on my birthday in Bali on 4 August 2017. Approximately 12 months later we would marry in Melbourne surrounded by many of our family and friends who would travel across all across Australia and the world to celebrate.
Charles had decided to surprise me with a trip to Bali for my 33rd Birthday. When we arrived at our private Bali Villa, Charles had organised a cake and gift to be set up. I received a gold bracelet my birthday gift and thought, this was truly one of the best birthdays ever. I had thought that all the surprises had now been revealed, we can now both just relax and enjoy Bali. Charles would organise to go out for dinner and drinks however after a few hours we would get fed up with the party culture of Seminyak. We both decide to walk back home and enjoy the quieter laneways. Once we had reached our Villa, I noticed that the staff had decorated the room with petals, candles, mood lighting and towel swans. I assumed it was just the locals being cheesy because we’re a couple and quite often throughout our travels in Asia we would come home to similar setups by the staff. I see a small pink box next to the towel swans and assumed the staff had bought us some local treats. I rip open the box expecting sugary goods and I find a ring. I automatically start crying and Charles (unable to get down on one knee due to a recent hiking injury) officially proposes to me.
St. Michael’s church is a beautiful church with stained glass windows on Collins street. They have a beautiful pipe organ where the pipes reach all the way up to the ceiling of the church and once you are officially married they ring the bells for you. I felt very much like Maria from the movie Sound of Music when I entered that church.
Alto event space is located on the rooftop of the GPO Building. Charles and I both liked the fact you had to go through a laneway (which is iconic of Melbourne) in order to reach the venue. Once you step out of the elevator you are welcome by floor to ceiling windows, velvet couches and golden light fixtures. It is essentially a big open space. Perfect for dancing. The Alto also has a great big balcony which they set up a few bar tables and chairs for guests to enjoy the rooftop. After 9 venue inspections throughout Melbourne we were both very much sold on the Alto due to the layout and size of the space. It was the perfect size for 100 people where it still felt intimate but guests wouldn’t be squashed on the tables.
As Charles is South African, many of his friends and family travelled from Johannesburg to Melbourne. For many of them it was their first time in Australia. As Charles and I made our way up to the cake in order to cut it, they began to sing a traditional song and before we knew it, everyone was standing up. Including guests who didn’t know the song nor the language, they were clapping and dancing along as well. The unison in the voices that were singing was incredible. I had no idea what the words meant but at the moment when my heart was already full of love and joy from the day, my heart grew even more. It was truly a special moment.
Both Charles and myself were raised by single mums. My mum raised three daughters on her own, and being the last daughter to wed, my mum had always wanted to walk at least one of her daughters down the aisle. I gave my mum that chance, which made my mum so happy. When I had reached the end of the aisle with mum I was greeted by a crying Charles standing next to his own proud mum.
I choose an off white, mermaid style dress. With detachable straps. It was fitted perfectly to my body. Not one to have many curves (eg. small bust, not much of a waist) the dress actually gave me curves for the first time. I know I’m in my thirties and very much an adult but it actually made me feel like a grown woman. I felt sophisticated and sexy. It gave me a bust and a booty but at the same time the classic, non-fussy style of the dress was exactly my personal style.
FINDING THE ONE
I can’t remember how many dresses I went through but as I live quite far away from a city I only had one day to find ‘the dress’. I had scheduled about 5 bridal consultations that day and Raffaele Ciuca was the third appointment. My appointment with Adelina from Raffaele Ciuca was definitely a stand out. She listened to a ‘T’ to exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a dress that was cut well with no embellishments. She also helped me match my veil. After going through all my appointments and trying every single style of dress, the dress Adelina help me find at Raffaele Ciuca was ‘the one’. I flew back to South Australia excited with my choice and organised everything over the phone.
ADVICE FOR OTHER BRIDES
Definitely do your research with getting as many quotes as possible. The more time you spend pre-planning and tweaking your wedding budget the easier it will be to keep track of your expenses and to adjust for unexpected expenses that may creep up on you pre-wedding. Especially if you are like Charles and I where we were organising a Melbourne Wedding from a mining town in South Australia. Highlight and take note what are wedding essentials and what aren’t. For me my wedding essentials were the groom and brides attire, venue and photography. Any extra cash we had in the budget we were able to filter down to our ‘want but don’t need’ list such as our custom neon sign.
Dress: Raffaele Ciuca Bridal
Photographer: Tony Evans Photography
Church: Michael’s Uniting Church, Collins Street
Reception: Alto Event Space, GPO Building, Bourke Street